Houston Calling

Buy this book: Texas Troubadours, by photographer Steve Harris

February 22nd, 2007 · No Comments

Last year, I was introduced to Houston photographer Steve Harris at a show at The Continental Club. A mutual friend told me that he was having a book published in early 2007, one that was made up of photos Harris had taken of numerous Texas musicians over the past several years, along with handwritten quotes by each musician. I believe some of the photos date back to the late 90s, so he’s obviously worked on the project for a while. Anyway, I made a note of it and kept in touch with Harris, eventually interviewing him for an article that appears in the March issue of Envy magazine. Be sure to pick up a copy of the magazine.

I just received my pre-ordered copy of Harris’ book and can only say that it is better than I expected (and I had pretty high expectations from the photos I had seen). Here’s what the publisher, The University of Texas Press, has to say about it:

Texas Troubadours is a virtual who’s who of singer-songwriters. The book includes such nationally and internationally acclaimed musicians as Kris Kristofferson, Alejandro Escovedo, Guy Clark, Robert Earl Keen, Steve Earle, Rodney Crowell, Ray Wylie Hubbard, and Jimmie Dale Gilmore, along with singer-songwriters whose followings are growing. In his introduction, Steve Harris describes how the losses of Townes Van Zandt and Doug Sahm inspired him to document Texas singer-songwriters and how the book developed as he took his 4 x 5 camera and notebook wherever a singer-songwriter was willing to be photographed.

You really have to see it to believe it. There are a few hometown heroes in it, including Mando Saenz and Hayes Carll (among others). And yes, I know they’ve movd on…

Texas Troubadours isn’t all country musicians–Harris also includes photos of other well-known Texas musicians like David Garza (a long-time favorite of mine), Patrice Pike, and Abra Moore. It’s truly an amazing collection.

You can order your own copy from UT Press or at Amazon.com.

Oh yeah, Kinky Friedman wrote the foreword and provides one of the best quotes in the book: “I’d rather be a dead Gram Parsons than a live Garth Brooks.” Classic.

Tags: Music

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